Each Carnivore box is likely to be slightly different. The FBI claims that the standard configuration looks something like:
- A COTS (Commercial Off The Shelf) Windows NT (or Windows 2000) box with 128-megabytes of RAM, a Pentium III, 4-18 gigabytes of disk space, and a 2G Jaz drive where evidence is written to.
- The software is written in C++
- The box has no TCP/IP stack (so it cannot get hacked into from the net)
- A hardware authentication device is used to control access to the box (preventing ISP personnel from accessing the device without leaving visible signs of damage).
- What they call a "network isolation device", which is probably a Shomiti or NetOptics tap. This prevents the box from transmitting even if a hacker where able to break in somehow.
- COTS "communications software", whatever that means. My guess is that this means that Carnivore is written as C++ plugins to the EtherPeek program.
- Some units are rumored to have dial-in modem ports, but it seems that the standard procedure is to have an FBI agent come in daily to exchange the Jaz disk for a fresh one.